Refuting a claim concerning prostration on a rock of clay
Fatwa No: 260713

Question

Al salaam 'alaykom wa rahmat Allah wa barakatoh. I have one question, a shi'a brother which I am trying to do daw'ah on says that they pray on a rock of clay because the prophet sall Allahu aleyhi wa sallam used to pray on clay. I cannot deny this, because he (saaws) used to do so, but how can I prove with evidence that it is wrong (or maybe bid'ah)? And they say that there were no prayer rugs during his era, is this true? These thoughts made me confused about the issue of praying with such a stone. And they also say that "it is proved in your books of hadith that he (the prophet sall Allahu aleyhi wa sallam) used to pray on clay" and they use this as their evidence. I know this but they must misinterpret those ahadiths? Please shed some light on the minds of myself and others, jazakom Allah kheyran shaykh may Allaah protect you. As salaam 'alaykom.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

Firstly, we would like to highlight a very important point for you, dear questioner, which is that refuting the claims of those who adopt religious innovations requires having profound (religious) knowledge and that the person has the ability to rebut and dispel such misconceptions and clearly prove what is right. If you do not have adequate knowledge, you are advised not to engage in such discussions and debates. Verily, the elimination of evil takes precedence over realization of benefit. They may raise misconceptions and doubts that you cannot refute and clear up and this would drive them to grow more confident about their practices and they would keenly adhere to such religious innovations even more. Thus, you would be harming them, while your intent was to benefit them.

Moreover, they may raise misconceptions and doubts that you cannot refute and dispel; and something thereof could sneak into your heart, and thus, it would incur the gravest harm upon you. Verily, the hearts are vulnerable to snatching doubts, as some of the righteous predecessors said.

As for the fact that this person who practices religious innovations presented the fact that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, fell prostrate upon mud as justification for prostrating on dust, this is absolutely groundless. This is because they do not do what the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to do. In fact, they often prostrate on a small block of earth from the land of Karbalaa' in Iraq. What does this have to do with the fact that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, prostrated himself on mud that happened to be on the ground at the time? He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not do this deliberately nor did he carry out some mud with him wherever he prayed.

Add to that, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to prostrate on reed mats just like he did on mud. Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that his grandmother Mulaykah invited the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, over for a meal. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ate and then said: “Get up so that I will lead you in prayer.” Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “So I got up and brought a reed mat of ours that had turned black due to long use, and sprinkled some water over it. The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, stood and the orphan and I stood in a row behind him, and the old woman stood behind us. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) led us in a prayer of two Rak‘ahs, then he left.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also used to fall prostrate on a Khumrah (small mat made of palm fibers). Maymoonah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to to prostrate on a Khumrah as well.” [Al-Bukhari and Abu Daawood] It was named as such because it would cover the surface of the ground; the same linguistic meaning of the Arabic word Khamara, i.e. covered (something).

‘Awn Al-Ma‘bood reads, “It is deduced from that Hadeeth that it is permissible to perform prayer on reed mats, rags, and the like.”

Moreover, it was reported that ‘Amr ibn Deenaar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “When ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was in Basrah, he performed prayer on his rug, then he told his companions that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to perform prayer on a rug.” [Ibn Maajah]

In addition, Al-Mugheerah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him related that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to pray on a mat and on a tanned leather. [Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Aadaab]

Allaah Knows best.

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